IELTS Reading Tips

IELTS Reading Tips

Looking for Completing the Reading Test within 50 Minutes then go through these strategies:-

  • Usually students face problem with time management. So here are some instructions to follow.
  • The key point to note is that Spend more time on Reading Questions.
  • Look at the key words:-
  1. Noun
  2. Verb
  3. Adjective
  4. Adverb
  5. Singular
  6. Plural
  7. Form of tense

1. Heading Matching

Lets Consider Headings first:-

  • To complete Headings in short time Read the main heading first. Then read the list of headings, read them thoroughly by linking it to main heading. Divide according to the positive and negative headings. According to plural and singulars focus on Adjective and Adverb.
    For example: Key people make difference a heading is given
    Key people means paragraph must contain the names of famous people, important people Key is the focusing word.
    Another example, Punishing Strictly
    Punishing is definitely the focus buy Strictly should be focused more – need to look for the synonyms or detail of strictly

  • If there are 10 headings, it is compulsory to memorise at least 6 to 7 headings before going back to the passage then read the paragraphs one by one and mark your answer.

  • Focus on contrast connectors, Answer will be according to the information after the contrast connectors like but, however, whereas, while, Although yet, Despite (,).

2. Multiple Choice Question

Second is Multiple Choice Question answers

Multiple choice questions in IELTS reading module may seem comfortable to the aspirants in the beginning. The reason for this way of thinking is the availability of all answers below the question itself. But it’s not actually.


No worries! It is a human tendency. But IELTS Multiple choice questions is filled with games to distract your ideas and many traps to make to stuck at a point.

Common Mistakes done by the Candidates in IELTS Reading MCQs

  1. Blind Passage Reading:
    Never do this! This will eat your time. Most of the candidates will blindly start reading the passage. Later they would go through the questions and reread the passage which is a real waste of time.
    Consequently they will not be able to answer the questions in time. And it is obvious that some questions might be left over.

2. Hastiness While Reading:
Can you understand the central idea or context of any given passage reading it in a hasty manner? Practically it has got the least chances. But test takers generally do this in despair.
Candidates start reading in a hurry trying to find the key words given in the question or their synonyms. They underline them thinking that it is the correct answer.
But, here comes the concept of IELTS. Look! IELTS reading test is intended to test your ability to understand the central idea of the given comprehension passage.
In contrast, you find the synonym and answer the incorrect ones.

3. Reading Half of the Line:
Most candidates do this in a rush. They read half of the sentence and start answering if they find some relevance. But always think about transition words as they are connecting words of contexts.
The meaning of the word after a transition word might change and the candidate’s answer is proved incorrect.

4. Leaving Unanswered Questions:
It might sound shocking but many test takers do this when they cannot manage time properly. So, employ your senses on time from the very first minute of the examination.

5. Getting Trapped in Test Maker’s Tricks:
IELTS test makers are well experienced in these mental tricks. They will distract you with their traps.
Do you know these so called ‘traps or distractions’? These are nothing but the duplicates of the correct answers. These appear to be right and in fact they are not.
When a candidate is speed reading the passage, he will obviously find some synonyms or some keywords relevant to the context. And the candidate in overlook will consider the wrong as the correct answer and fall in the trap.

Now let’s move forward and discuss some of the essential IELTS MCQ tips and tricks to crack the reading module.

IELTS Reading Tips
IELTS Reading Tips

How do you Tackle Multiple Choice Questions in IELTS Reading?

Read instructions first: Your first task is to read the instructions. Otherwise you might get confused; many of the test takers do this mistake.


Now, read questions to know what is being asked. Don’t be hasty because unless you understand the context of the question first, you will not be able to find the correct answer.
To save time use the speed reading techniques like skimming and scanning.

Scanning Technique:-

Read the question first and at least underline two key words in the question and start searching for them.


The good thing with this question type is – questions will be in a sequence in the passage. Once you found the first answer, the rest of the questions will come in a sequence in the passage.


 So, you don’t have to go searching for them. Try to understand the meaning of the sentence and options. Some of the options will be contradicting the statement in the passage so it makes easy to eliminate them.


If you have already chosen the option, make sure the rest of them are wrong. Just for the confirmation. In case if you are running out of time, make a guess.


For example: Some of the questions will give you options such as (A – E) and ask you to choose 3 right options from a lengthy passage. Don’t panic by looking at the size of the passage. Here also the options will come in a sequence in the passage. For instance, the right answers are – A, D and E.

IELTS Reading MCQ Strategy (Tips and Tricks):

  • Don’t forget to recheck
    Don’t forget to recheck the answer you have got. Check with the contextual idea not just the technical synonyms. That’s the way you will get to know whether it fits the question or not.
    Check all the contexts of keywords
    Imagine if you get the same key words in many places, no need to panic, go and check all the contexts of keywords found. It is simple, recheck everything.
  • Rephrasing
    Few conditions state that some sentences seem to sense the same meaning. In such a case, you have to rephrase all the sentences in your own words to acquire the correct context of the question. Such things are generally traps made by the IELTS examiners
  • Elimination
    Elimination is again an interesting technique in IELTS MCQs section. Observe and understand the question carefully, and then try to eliminate the irrelevant alternatives.
    This is also called isolation technique (isolating the correct alternative). Now your question is left with fewer alternatives and you can find the right answer with ease. But remember that this cannot be applied often.
  • Prediction in IELTS MCQ is an instinctive technique.
    Actually you do it by yourself.  But whatever the reasons might be, you are dragged in to the passage. But it is better to guess the answer before reading the text. This will make your chances of hitting the answer easy. It’s just to find the alternative relevant to your guess.
  • Beware of traps and distractors included by the test makers.
    Because IELTS is a purely a language proficiency test, examiners include many kinds of traps while testing abilities of an IELTS test taker.
    Therefore be aware of the IELTS test format, tips, and techniques and prepare a perfect strategy.
  • Never leave an IELTS question unanswered
    Think you are running out of time; never leave an IELTS question unanswered. If and only if you have no time, then guess the answers. Remember that there is a 25% chance for a guess to become correct.

3. Sentence Completion

Third is Sentence Completion Tips and Strategies:-

In sentence completion question types, you will be given a number of sentences with gaps in them and asked to complete the sentences with words from the reading text.


These questions are as much vocabulary tests as they are reading tests because they require you to be aware of paraphrasing (using different words to repeat a sentence so that it has the same meaning) and synonyms (words with the same or very similar meanings). More on these below.

Common Problems 

As you have probably already guessed from the passage above, the main problem is students trying to match words in the question with exactly the same words in the reading text. Instead, you should be looking for words that mean the same thing i.e. paraphrases and synonyms.


Another common problem is not reading the instructions properly and then writing too many words or not writing the same words as in the reading text, as discussed above.
Finally, students often start reading the text before the question. This is confusing for most people and wastes time. Read the questions first.

Sentence Completion Tips and Strategies:-

  • Check how many words it asks you to write. If it says ‘no more than two’, you can write one or two words. If it says ‘no more than three’, you can write one, two or three words. Remember that numbers are written numerically, such as 72, count as one word and hyphenated words, such as state-of-the-art, count as one word.
  • Sometimes the question will state ‘using words from the text’ or ‘from the text’. In this case, you should only use words from the text and not change them or use different forms of the words. If it does not say this, then you are allowed to change the words as long as the meaning is the same.
  • The answers appear in the same order as the questions. The answer to number 1 will be above number 2, and the answer to number 3 will be below the answer to number 2.
  • Remember that your answer should be grammatically correct. Check the type of word that fits in the space. Is it a verb, noun, adjective or adverb? This will help you answer the question correctly.
  • When scanning for your answer, make sure you are thinking about paraphrasing and synonyms.
  • Find where the answer is located in the text before you try to answer the question. Remember where before what.
  • Read the questions before reading the text.

4. True, False, Not Given

Fourth is True, False, Not Given Strategies:-

‘True, False, Not Given’ questions requires you to identify if information in a text is true or not.
You will be given a number of factual statements and you have to check the text to see if they are true or not.
This is probably the most difficult question on the reading paper.

Common Problems

The biggest problem here is the ‘not given’ option. Most students are not used to answering questions like this and it causes them lots of problems because they are not sure what to look for. They also spend too much time making sure that it is ‘not given’ and this affects the rest of their test.


Students also fail to understand exactly what each statement means and therefore cannot identify if it is true or false. Many focus on keywords instead of understanding what the statement as a whole means.


Another common mistake is identifying keywords in the statements and then trying to find words that exactly match them in the text. You can do this, but more often the words will be synonyms.


Finally, some students fail to understand exactly what true, false and not given actually mean and get confused.


Now let’s look at solving these common problems

True, False, Not Given Strategy

This is my suggested strategy. There are many different strategies and you should use the one you feel comfortable with. You can also adapt this strategy to what suits you.

  1. Always read the instructions carefully and make sure you know if it is a TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN or YES/NO/NOT GIVEN question.
  2. Read all the statements carefully, trying to understand what the whole sentence means rather than simply highlighting keywords. Watch out for qualifying words such as some or always. 
  3. Try to think of what synonyms might be in the text. This will help you identify the matching part of the text.
  4. Match the statement with the correct part of the text.
  5. Focus on the statement again and then carefully read the matching part of the text to establish if it is true or false. Remember the meaning should exactly match that of the statement if it is true.
  6. Underline the words that give you the answer, this will help you focus and you can check back later. Again, be careful there are no qualifying words in the text.
  7. If you can’t find the answer, mark it as ‘not given’ and move on to the next question.
  8. If you are really unsure or can’t find the answer, mark it as ‘not given’. 

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IELTS Reading Tips
IELTS Reading Tips

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